The past 4 to 6 weeks or so has been fairly life changing. I’ve been keeping to a daily Bible reading and Journaling plan since last year, but really began to pick up steam since 1st Jan 2012. At the end of January, we had an awesome Prayer & Praise, and it really began to take off from there.
I began praying 5 minutes a day from January, and it has been persisting till now. I’ve never considered myself a praying type, but the strange thing is 5 minutes is absolutely manageable, and after doing this for more than a month and counting now….. its begun to be a part of my daily routine. In fact, one of the things I’ve started doing for some weeks now, is to send daily SMSes to my CG. I’m now extending it to email, as a couple of my CG members aren’t on Whatsapp.
Its been interesting, as I am starting to sense a change in the atmosphere of the CG, particularly in their response towards such SMSes, etc.
I’m still traveling a fair amount, and when I was in Malaysia last week, I heard distinctly from God while in the airport, and wrote a fairly longish email to the CG, which I’ve reproduced below. It is my hope that the CG will take up the challenge and be the change catalyst for their children and for themselves.
We’ve been through about slightly over a month now, of the 5 minute prayer. I hope you have been following, and praying 5 minutes a day, as well as spending time reading God’s word in a daily journal and reading plan. If not, I strongly encourage you to do so. No…. I urge you to do so. We MUST do so. I was just listening this morning to my iPod, and it was on on shuffle, shuffling all the songs on my device. It shuffled to one of Ps Edmund’s older sermons. It was one sermon where he asked the Sunday audience to turn to one another, and tell each other that “A New Day is Dawning”… then He lamented that it was padestrian, (ok.. he didn’t say that 🙂 ), but then asked everyone to change that statement to say again “A New Day is Dawning FOR ME”, and to say it with conviction.
CG, A New Day Is Dawning for me. It must also be for you. Because, if it is not… how can we hope to reach those around us?
Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been reading Joshua and now this week, I’ve begun reading Judges. In Joshua 24, Joshua was over a hundred, and reaching the end of his journey, but before he left, he reminded the Isrealites of the Goodness of God, of how God brought them into the promise land. This was a generation of Isrealites, descendants of the previous generation who had unbelief in their hearts when they spied out the land more than 70 to 80 years prior. Joshua said to them….
“13 I have given you a land for which you did not labor and cities you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat from vineyards and olive yards you did not plant. 14 Now therefore, [reverently] fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in truth; put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the [Euphrates] River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 16 The people answered, Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 For it is the Lord our God Who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, Who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the peoples through whom we passed. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the people, the Amorites who dwelt in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for He is our God. 19 And Joshua said to the people, You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God. He will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good. 21 And the people said to Joshua, No; but we will serve the Lord. 22 Then Joshua said to the people, You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve Him. And they said, We are witnesses. 23 Then put away, said he, the foreign gods that are among you and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel. 24 The people said to Joshua, The Lord our God we will serve; His voice we will obey. 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem.”
The people of God made a covenant to God, promised that they would serve God only, and throw away any foreign gods. All looked good.
But.. the story doesn’t end there. After Joshua died, and his generation passed away, there rose a new generation (Judges 2:10-13) who did not know of the work of God and what He did for them. They did evil and began to worship other gods…
“10 And also all that generation were gathered to their fathers, and there arose another generation after them who did not know (recognize, understand) the Lord, or even the work which He had done for Israel. 11 And the people of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 And they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, Who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods of the peoples round about them and bowed down to them, and provoked the Lord to anger. 13 And they forsook the Lord and served Baal [the god worshiped by the Canaanites] and the Ashtaroth [female deities such as Ashtoreth and Asherah].”
Why did this happen? I believe that it began because the Isrealites in the previous generation did not remove completely the inhabitants of the land. (Joshua 17:12-13)
“12 Yet the sons of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities, but the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land. 13 When the Israelites became strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor but did not utterly drive them out.”
Similarly, we need to remove completely the inhabitants of the land. We cannot allow anything alien to persist. (Sin, dross, habits, etc that are not of God in our lives). Why is this so important? There are 2 key thoughts I would like to share with you here, and submit for your own devotion….
1. If we don’t remove these sins totally and completely, we die a moral death, and while we may appear ok on the outside, we decay inside. Is this really what we want for our own life? Is anything that God has for us any less good than what we can ever get outside?
2. More importantly, as we go through this 50 days of praying for the TNG, it is a very timely reminder that we as parents need to live a Holy life before God and men, and before our children. If we don’t live correctly, who do our children learn from? How will our children our next generation know the works of the Father? How will they hear the stories of what God did for us?
It is very clear from Judges 2 that a new generation arose who did not know God. What were their parents doing? They covenanted with Joshua, with God. Yet, they left inhabitants in the land, allowed them to continue worshipping their gods, and worse still, they did not impart the knowledge of God to their children.
CG, we need to know that some of the actions we take today can have ramifications that we can’t see until the next generation. Will we take responsibility for our children today? Will we begin by removing the sin and dross in our lives? Will we begin by coming before God today and repenting of our sins? Will we begin to tell our kids about what God has done for us? Will we tell our kids the amazing stories, not just from the bible, but from our own lives? I am sure there are many stories and many encounters you have with God. Share them with your kids. Pray for yoru kids.
This morning, I smsed everyone a prayer that you can use to pray for your children. I’ve been praying for Kyla, Ariel and Elkan every morning using that prayer. I don’t want my next generation to lose the knowledge of God. To no longer know who God is, and to start worshipping foreign gods.
Search our hearts today. Lets come back to God and renew our covenants with Him.